CONSERVATIVES AND THE LAW
Conservatives are supposed to stand for law and order. They are generally strict constructionists with respect to the U. S. Constitution, and they seek ever more binding regulations on political and ethical issues. Liberals, on the other hand, are for bending the rules. They try to follow the spirit rather than the letter of the law, and they may even opt for civil diso-bedience as a means of advancing more progressive legislation.
Given these general orientations, it is somewhat paradoxical that the worst law-breakers of recent times have been conservatives. Starting with Watergate and proceeding through the Iran-Contra scandal, conservatives have seemed to abandon their usual high ethic with regard to respect for law. The answer to this aberrant behavior, of course, is the seductive temptation to power. Those in high positions start imagining themselves to be above the law, or they become so obsessed with achieving their aims that it seems evident to them that, just this once, the end may justify any devious means.
Unfortunately, what is happening in American politics is being redup-licated in our nation’s religious sphere as well. Scandals are rocking the conservative denominations in very high places, and tarnished charismatic idols are falling all around. This should not come as any great surprise, however, for the same element that has corrupted our politics, namely, greed for power, has also infiltrated the church. In the flashy televangelist and super-church arena of today, spineless congregations are giving more and more wealth and power into the hands of autocratic pastors, and the ensuing self-aggrandizement of these esteemed men of the cloth has led to wide-spread devious acts.
To gain control of entire denominations, in some cases, tactics that would shame the most worldly politician have been employed. And since the aura of success is theirs, it must seem to them that heaven is smiling on their nefarious efforts. The time will come, however, when, as in Animal Farm, the pigs will finally wake up to what they have become.
THE CONSERVATIVE’S CREED
I am a consistent Conservative.
I believe in the Constitution, except for its “created equal” idealism.
I believe in America, if her government lets me alone.
I believe in equality, among white Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
I believe in brotherhood, if limited to my kind of people.
I believe in progress, whenever it poses no threat to my personal prosperity.
I believe in laissez faire capitalism, except for its depressions.
I believe in my personal right to ignore the rights of others.
I believe in local government, in spite of duplication, contra- diction, and expense.
I believe in states’ rights, in spite of the lesson of the Civil War.
I believe in charity, infrequently and prejudicially allocated.
I believe in the political process, but deliver me from visionary statesmanship.
I believe in the poor man’s right to his poverty, ignorance, and crime.
I believe in standardaization and unification in everything but government.
I believe in a balanced budget, but I believe more in military might, and that justifies deficit spending.
I believe in facing today’s problems with yesterday’s answers.
I believe the majority is always right, in Selma, Alabama but not in South Africa.
I believe in capital punishment, since it’s the ancient law of the jungle.
I believe in the Bible, although its precepts are often impractical.
I believe in my right to suspect everyone of communism, or of whatever political view presently being condemned.
I believe in and stand for myself,
for this is the heart of conservatism.